Michelin Man Dovi Scores First Podium
Michelin riders Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) provided the most entertaining action of today's sweltering-hot Malaysian GP, battling for third place throughout most of the race.
MotoGP rookie Dovizioso eventually won the duel to score his first elite-class podium, the Italian crossing the finish line just three tenths of a second ahead of the American. For a while it looked like Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) might also join in the fun, but the Spaniard slid off at half-distance while in the group fighting for third.
Conditions were the toughest of the year for riders with temperatures reaching 40 degrees and complicated by light drizzle falling during the second half of the 21 lap event. Not only that, changeable conditions during practice and qualifying, with rainfall on both days, prevented riders and teams from doing a lot of laps on race tyres, leaving Michelin's technicians the task of choosing race tyres according to this morning's warm-up session.
Today's race was very tough, for the riders and also for the tyres because the ambient and track temperatures were so high," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing
"Our riders didn't have so much time during practice to put a lot of laps on their tyres, so we had to decide race tyres based on the results of morning warm-up. We are quite happy with today's result because our tyres remained fast and consistent throughout the race. Also, we enjoyed a very good fight between Andrea and Nicky for more than half the race."
"They both chose similar tyres and both rode very well. We are happy for Andrea, because this is his first MotoGP podium. He is a strong rider and he has been clever and pushed very hard throughout his rookie. It was a shame that Jorge fell. He was doing some very good lap times at that time and could have had a great result today, but that's racing. Now we switch our concentration to the last race of the year at Valencia where we will do our maximum as always."
Dovizioso was rightly delighted with his first top-three result in MotoGP. "It has been a difficult year with so much to learn, especially about the electronics, which we didn't use in 250s," he said. "I'm really happy now because this is a good reward for our hard work. It was a difficult race because the heat was unbelievable and because Nicky was behind me all the way so I could never examine his lines, so I don't know where he would try to overtake. Thanks to all my team, to Honda and to Michelin."
1. Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team),
2. Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team), + 4.008
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP-Michelin),Â
Â Â + 8.536
4. Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team-Michelin), +Â 8.858
5. Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini), + 10.583
6. Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team), + 13.640
7. Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP), + 15.936
8. Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha- Michelin), + 18.802
9. Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP), + 23.174
10. Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP- Michelin), + 25.516
11. John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team), + 27.609
12. Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team), + 41.399
13. Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team), + 45.617
14. Alex DE ANGELISÂ (San Carlo Honda Gresini), + 49.003
15. Toni ELIAS (Alice Team DUCATI), + 59.139
16. Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team), + 1'03.328
James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha- Michelin)
Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team- Michelin)